Your Emotions Are Like a Pendulum

Maintaining emotional balance will allow you to direct your own life and prevent your emotions from taking control.
Your Emotions Are Like a Pendulum
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Your emotions are like a pendulum. On some days you feel at the peak of happiness, while on others you experience great sadness. In fact, the strength of your positive emotions finds its counterpart in equally intense negative feelings. You might think that, in the case of joy, it’s okay to let yourself be carried away by this feeling. However, this isn’t the case.

As a matter of fact, experiencing your emotions (regardless of their valence) excessively will make you suffer. Your emotions must be the sails of your ship, which help you navigate through life. Nevertheless, you mustn’t give them the role of the rudder. Because, if your emotions take control over you, you’re assured of chaos.

Emotional intensity

Naturally, some people have a greater tendency than others to emotional intensity. These individuals feel each and every one of their emotions with a far greater magnitude than the average. They get excited and overflow with joy, yet also sink into despair and become paralyzed with fear. Their whole world is guided by their emotions which affect them in a profound way.

Experiencing such high emotional levels ends up throwing these people out of control. In fact, any little event in their life is enough to throw them off balance. Furthermore, they often feel like they’re drowning in their own emotional world. Excessive sadness can lead to depression and exaggerated fear can lead to anxiety. Also, uncontrolled euphoria is a symptom of mania.

Any extreme is dangerous because it deprives the person of control over themselves. Only those who achieve balance develop freely in life, the rest are prisoners of their internal states. Therefore, if you want to enjoy a good state of psychological health you have to balance your emotions.

The danger of extremes

You know how unpleasant it is to feel certain negative emotions really intensely. Equally, you might think that getting excited, happy, and enjoying yourself to excess can’t be bad. This isn’t so. To understand, put yourself, for a moment, in the shoes of someone who feels intensely:

Suddenly, this person has a golden opportunity. They find the job of their dreams and their financial status goes through the roof. Naturally, they feel happy and grateful for having achieved their goal. However, they’ll probably go further. In fact, their enthusiasm will be so great that they may lose focus and start spending uncontrollably, or neglect other aspects of their life. That’s because their energy is completely focused on their achievement.

Therefore, their economic situation and personal relationships will deteriorate. In fact, when the pendulum swings and the situation changes, they find themselves facing a shattered reality. Their fall will be tremendous because so was their rise. They feel as if they’re descending into an abyss because they were unable to keep their feet on the ground when everything was going well.

The same might happen to you when you start a new relationship. You think you’ve found the love of your life and the meaning of your existence. Your happiness overflows to the extent that it leads you to give yourself 100 percent to your new partner. However, if your relationship comes to an end, the immense emptiness you feel will be proportional to your initial euphoria. Indeed, at that moment, you discover that you gave away so much of yourself, you ended up with nothing.

Seek balance

Aristotle claimed that virtue was at the midpoint between two extremes. Emotions are an intrinsic part of all human beings. You must allow yourself to feel them and you must listen to them, but you must never give them control. Try to keep your feet on the ground at all times. If something good happens to you, don’t lose focus. On the other hand, when something bad happens, don’t lose hope.

Put yourself in the position of an external spectator of your own emotions. Don’t identify with them. Remember that your emotions are like a pendulum. Throughout your life, you’ll experience feelings of all kinds. Develop the ability to analyze them from a higher point. What you feel at a given moment is not who you are.

Emotions are guides. They help you to develop in your environment and to act in the best possible way. Take their advice and use it but don’t get too involved. Allow yourself to feel, but don’t forget that you’re in charge of the rudder of your own ship. 

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The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. They don't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment of a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.